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    Stingless bees are generalist pollinators distributed through the pantropical region. There is growing evidence that their wild populations are experiencing substantial decline in response to habitat degradation and pesticides. Policies for conservation of endangered species will benefit from studies focusing on genetic and molecular aspects of their development and behavior. The most common method for looking at gene expression is real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction preceded by reverse transcription (RT-qPCR) of the mRNA of interest. This method requires the identification of reliable reference genes to correctly estimate fluctuations in transcript levels. To contribute to molecular studies on stingless bees, we used Frieseomelitta varia, Melipona quadrifasciata, and Scaptotrigona bipunctata species to test the expression stability of eight reference genes (act, ef1-α, gapdh, rpl32, rps5, rps18, tbp, and tbp-af) in RT-qPCR procedures in five physiological and experimental conditions (development, sex, tissues, bacteria injection, and pesticide exposure). In general, the rpl32, rps5 and rps18 ribosomal protein genes and tpb-af gene showed the highest stability, thus being identified as suitable reference genes for the three stingless bee species and defined conditions. Our results also emphasized the need to evaluate the stability of candidate genes for any designed experimental condition and stingless bee species.


    Flávia C P Freitas, Thiago S Depintor, Lucas T Agostini, Danielle Luna-Lucena, Francis M F Nunes, Márcia M G Bitondi, Zilá L P Simões, Anete P Lourenço. Evaluation of reference genes for gene expression analysis by real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) in three stingless bee species (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Meliponini). Scientific reports. 2019 Nov 27;9(1):17692

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    PMID: 31776359

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